“The Clockwork Universe” is a good book, but it suffers from a bit of an identity crisis. It’s not quite a biography of Isaac Newton, nor is it quite a book about the Royal Society, nor is it really a layman’s guide to understanding scientific revelations of the 17th Century, although at various points “Clockwork Universe” tries to be each of these things. For most of the book, it felt like the author repurposed a dissertation comparing Newton with Leibniz in their lives and in their calculus, added some bits about the Royal Society, and slapped a title on it.
This, however, should not discourage anyone from reading “The Clockwork Universe.” There are many parts that are done just right. For example, Dolnick does a really good job setting the scene, given, after all, this was essentially the middle ages or close enough thereto. The life experiences of Newton and others are vastly different from life today. Also, we take for granted many things in this world, many things that someone at some point actually had to figure out, such as, for example, linier graphs. Those portions of the book where various individuals figured things out for the first time were quite inspiring and interesting.
The narration by Sklar is spot on. Trouble is, however, much of the book requires readers to picture graphs and pictures in their mind, and with the narration, it’s easy to get lost. This might be one of those books where it’s better to read long with the hard copy, starting and stopping the audio as needed or desired.
This may be comparing apples to oranges, but for those interested in great thinkers in science, I’d recommend “Einstein: His Life and Universe” by Walter Isaacson instead.
Active lifestyle so audiobooks fit in with nearly everything I'm doing.
I've read hundreds of audiobooks and this ranks right up in the top 10. I was one of those, like so many, that didn't really "get" math with the exception geometry. In all honesty I'm not sure I realized what this story was about when I purchased it but was truly pleasantly surprised. What insight into how math should be seen and interpreted-I actually think I understand calculus now.
The historical information to be sure but also the way the author wove theories and equations into the book in such a way that it became real and understandable.
Probably not extreme, but I was saddened by the the loss of great people who knew math but we're accused of witchcraft. I was frustrated by wasted genius from petty men who didn't want to share.
This book has provided me with an extra boost of courage to help my now home-schooled niece achieve success in mathematics, physics and science. No, I'll never be a math genius but I found a great understanding of math's complexities in a book that is genuinely good. I'm happy I found this...or it found me. I highly recommend The Clockwork Universe for all.
Definitely! It was so interesting and brilliantly written. Fantastic insights into amazing discoveries that helped change the world.
All different and each contributed with their own discoveries.
Newton's awe of God and the end quote by the author that Newton had seen into the mind of God.
Age of enlightenment
A great summary of some of the greatest ever minds of Europe.
The perfect long commute companion book.
I had just finished Einstein’s biography and I thought I might follow up with a book about Isaac Newton. This is the book I chose. It was very well done, even for the scientific laymen. The book does have a Newton focus, but it also goes into many of his contemporaries which I found equally interesting. The book would be a helpful read for those entering a basic Physics class. It is really effective at taking what could be difficult subject matter and tying it out to real life examples that most should be able to follow and understand.
I love AUDIBLE! I never get mad at traffic jams and can listen to many different books, despite of my short time.
If you enjoy a history book, with many great characters, like Newton, Leibniz, Galileo Galilei, ..., you will love this book.
A fast listening, with an amazing narration (I became a fan of Alan Sklar) and many insights. A fascinating text, where science is the main scenery.
I haven't read the print version.
Isaac Newton, because he is at once brilliant and insane.
Well, for one thing, I can read it while I commute. That's hard to do with a paper book.
No, it's a book about the history of science.
These questions were strangely inappropriate for a history-of-science book. Are they randomly generated? Anyway, listen to this book, it's excellent.
I think that this book is so education and mind opening. It's fantastic. I learned a lot but was also interested as I went. I feel like I got nuggets of history that I wouldn't have gotten any other way.
Yes he was great.
All the facts and data and the way it was delivered.
Having stopped listening several times because my own historical understandings differed from what Mr Dolnick tells and at other times because I just felt dizzy from the narration, I am sure that I won't buy another book from the author, but maybe a fantasy tale narrated by Mr Sklar.
There had to be a circle back to the beginning. Somehow it felt really forced.
I adore Mr Sklar's educated voice, his timbre and warmth. It just is the wrong-most choice for a historical essay (like this), being much more suited for a tale of elves and orcs and sleepy hollows.
If you are completely unfamiliar with the world of the 16hundreds, you may get a glimpse of how science "worked" back then. If you are interested in the philosophical debates of the days or want to learn more about Newton and his time-companions - or if you want to learn anything about physics, mathematics or the likes ... get a good book.
It isn't BAD. It is just far too long without any "news", any well crafted narration (talking about the author, NOT the narrator), it seemed to have many small flaws in recherche and/or detail (even in the scientific departments).
The book does make you want to look for better biographies of its subjects, though. And that is NOT the worst one can say about any book.
To start with, a book that focusses on Isaac Newton and the Royal Society doesn't seem right with an American accent, but I suppose since the author is an American its acceptable.The first few chapters seemed to me to be a sort of "Walt Disney" version of British history and of the Christian faith of Isaac Newton and his contemporaries. Mr Dolnick would have done well to consult some intelligent modern day Christians before setting down such a cartoon like image.Likewise the broad brush he uses for setting the scene of British history in the early chapters made me feel that the narrator from Winnie-the-Pooh was trying to tell me about the history of my own country.
Having said that, the book improves once he moves on to the main subject and I really enjoyed the last 70% of the book. It was informative and interesting. It helped me to understand the origins of ideas that I learned at school and university, and still use today.